Universal Fit Foam Earplugs
The newest generation of Sound Guard PVC foam earplugs, which are just now being shipped to Defense Supply Center Philadelphia under the same NSN as earlier configurations (6515-00-137-6345), is congressionally mandated when ordering universal fit foam earplugs.
These rather colorful orange and aqua green plugs have the value-added feature of indicating correct insertion. No orange should be visible if the necessary two-thirds insertion depth has been achieved, as described on the attached flyer. Also noteworthy is use of "Method B" in labeling the NRR for these plugs as NRR 19(SF), as opposed to the Method A standard that yielded something like NRR 28. The SF refers to "subject fit", also termed Method B, which involves naive subjects who fit themselves with no examiner participation - only the instructions on the product package. The traditional Method A involves passive subjects who are aggressively fitted by the examiner. Do not interpret the NRR 19 to mean these plugs are less effective than other PVC foam earplugs that were examiner fit, vice subject fit.
You should start to see these replacing the current green or yellow Sound Guard foam plugs as existing stocks are depleted. Be advised that these are essentially a "medium" size, despite the term "universal fit" and some users with either very small or large canals may benefit from the Aearo Superfit 30 or Superfit 33 foam plugs, respectively, as described below and available on GSA contract. This is currently the only permissible circumstance to purchase PVC foam earplugs elsewhere than the standard stocked foam plug. Sound Guard plugs are not currently available in different sizes.
Small and Large Sized Foam Earplugs
Are you tired of hearing complaints that the "universal fit" foam earplugs do not fit some users properly? There is now a GSA contract in place to order disposable foam earplugs that are specifically tailored for persons with either small or large ear canals. Approximately a fourth to a third of all foam earplug users have ear canals that are either too small or too large to receive good benefit from the medium-sized earplugs currently available under NSN 6515-00-137-6345.
GSA Contract # GS-07F-9123D has foam earplugs appropriate for small and large ear canals, respectively:
Part # 1241-310-1009 EAR Classic SuperFit 30, NRR 30dB, uncorded in pillow packs, 2000 pairs per case.
Part # 1241-310-1008 EAR Classic SuperFit 33, NRR 33 dB, uncorded in pillow packs, 2000 pairs per case
These foam earplugs include an orange colored band in the center third of its length. Properly inserted, there will be no orange visible – also confirming that the necessary two-thirds insertion depth has been achieved.
A suggested distribution for stocking foam earplugs is 25% small, 65% medium, and 10% large sizes.
Point of contact is the Navy Environmental Health Center (NEHC) Operational Audiology Office at (757) 953-0772, DSN 377.